Law Quill | SEO For Lawyers: Help Your Clients Find Your Fast!
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When it comes to law firm SEO,  there is a great deal of information to wade through, let alone put into practice. Between keyword strategy, competitor research, and content optimization, it can be difficult to know what exactly will set your law firm apart from the rest in search rankings. Lawyer SEO is not only complex, but it is highly important for the success and longevity of your practice in the current digital age. Understanding SEO for lawyers is critical to growing your law firm online. 

Fortunately, it is possible to outsource this responsibility, and more and more lawyers are turning to legal marketing companies like Law Quill for help. As dedicated law firm marketers and lawyer SEO experts, we are better able to assist law firms to optimize their content, attract new clients, and expand their practice. Through our targeted strategies, we can help you expand your reach, increase your bottom line, and attract new clients to your firm. SEO for lawyers is a game-changer and can absolutely bring you more traffic in your virtual door. 

What Is Attorney SEO?

For any business to achieve visibility in the digital age, they must prioritize their internet presence and stand out from the rest of their competitors. One of the most important components involved in achieving this goal is SEO. Standing for “search engine optimization,” SEO refers to the way that content is crafted to maximize organic traffic to a website. When done correctly, SEO helps a webpage rank higher on Google. This, in turn, attracts more visitors to a website and generates significantly more attention for a business. 

In the highly competitive legal industry, SEO for lawyers is absolutely essential. Optimizing your law firm website is no longer an option; to stay competitive in the market, attorney SEO must be leveraged to rank highly on Google and attract potential clients. This is accomplished primarily through targeted and strategic content creation. For lawyers, this can take many forms, including: 

  • Crafting focused and optimized practice area webpages
  • Telling a compelling story on your About Us page
  • Posting SEO-friendly and informational blog posts
  • Structuring content such that it is user-friendly and accessible

While it may seem quite complex at first glance, law firm SEO is far from dubious. Rather, lawyer SEO is a science – a formula that can be followed in order to convert potential clients into real cases. SEO for lawyers, created specifically with attorneys in mind, can help growing law firms expand their reach and help successful law firms maintain their position in the market. 

What is Organic Traffic?

To understand SEO for lawyers, you must understand organic traffic. Organic traffic refers to any traffic that your website naturally sees as a result of search engine queries. The key to organic traffic versus any other type of traffic is that organic traffic is unpaid. You do not need to pay to have your website rank in the SERPs, rather it happens organically. 

Organic traffic is gained entirely through SEO and inbound marketing. It is clearly possible, however, to increase traffic to your website through paid means, which is where pay per click (PPC) comes into the mix. So, what is pay per click, and how does this strategy differ from, and work alongside SEO-generated organic traffic?

What is Pay Per Click?

Pay per click, or PPC, is a form of marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks on their advertisement. Search engine advertising is one of the most frequently used forms of PPC because it allows website owners to display their pages above the organically ranked results. 

Each time a user clicks on your PPC ad, you must pay a small fee to the search engine. This fee varies depending on how relevant and useful your landing pages are. If your content is optimized for conversion and the search engines see that your content satisfies users’ inquiries, then the fee will be lower. 

SEO Vs. PPC: Which Approach is Right for Your Law Firm?

If you are trying to get healthy, there are two approaches. You can go on an intense crash diet, or you can eat nutritious food and work out. If you crash diet, you will likely lose some weight, but once you stop the extreme diet, all the weight will come back (plus some!) If you eat right and work out, it will take more time, but the results are always better. You will slowly become healthier over time, and if done the right way, you will not gain the weight back with consistent effort. 

What does this have to do with SEO and PPC? 

PPC is your crash diet. You will dump a lot of money into it, and you will likely get some results. However, once you turn off that financial faucet, you will be back right where you started – at a domain authority score of zero on your website. In fact, I would even argue you will be further behind because your competition has been working on their SEO during that entire time. 

SEO is your healthy diet and exercise. It takes longer, but if done consistently throughout life, it will make you healthier. SEO is permanent. The work you do with SEO takes time, but articles you write now can bring you clients in a few months, as well as years from now. SEO never goes away if it is done correctly, and is done consistently.

That said, if you want to rank highly on search engines, both of these approaches done together can be greatly valuable. Marketing your content is not a dichotomy, however, and it is possible to utilize an integrated approach. Both SEO and PPC can be used in tandem to attract prospective clients to your site. 

There are a few benefits associated with using SEO and PPC simultaneously, including:

  • Keyword data and conversion metrics from PPC ads can be factored into search engine rankings
  • The ability to test your keyword strategy in PPC before committing to the strategy in SEO
  • A/B testing of PPC copy and content can be incorporated in landing pages
  • Provides information about what content and messaging is effective in driving conversion rate

Integrating both strategies into your digital marketing plan can be highly beneficial, depending on your law firm. An experienced SEO agency such as Law Quill will be able to advise you on how to best use both SEO and PPC as a holistic strategy to increase traffic to your site. 

Why Is SEO for Lawyers Important?

Understanding the basics of search engine optimization is only one part of the conversation. If you are a client who is looking for a lawyer to represent their personal injury case, for instance. In this scenario, you will likely take to Google and search for attorneys in your area. 

There are dozens of firms that practice personal injury, however, but only a handful are displayed on the first page of the search engine. As a client, you will likely not search through several search engine results pages. Rather, you will browse through the law firm websites that are ranked on the first page of the search engine, contacting the law practice that seems most credible and reputable. 

Law firm SEO is the deciding factor between your law practice ranking on the first page of Google and falling behind in the mass of search results that go unseen by prospective clients. Google’s guidelines are clear and through an effective SEO strategy, it is possible to leverage these guidelines to gain traction for your website. Across the board, there are many benefits of implementing an SEO strategy in your law firm marketing plan. 

Organic Marketing Your Law Firm

When searching for a law firm to handle their case, consumers will take one of two approaches. They will either use a referral, either from a loved one or another lawyer, or they will search on their own. When taking the latter approach, consumers will select a firm based on the lawyer’s website or through an online search engine. In fact, the 2019 Legal Trends Report confirms that nearly 40% of consumers search for lawyers online, placing a premium on the law firm’s website and their search engine rankings. 

This is significant and underscores the importance of using lawyer SEO to increase consumers’ ability to find your law firm website. A majority of potential clients visit an attorney’s website to take action and initiate contact. Implementing SEO for law firms is a way to drive organic traffic to your website, without the need for paid advertising. When done correctly, a law firm’s web pages will naturally rank highly on Google and serve as organic marketing for the firm.

Establishing Trust for Prospective Clients

Lawyer SEO helps instill trust by demonstrating the credibility and quality of your firm’s practice. When a law firm ranks at the top of the Google search and has an established, attractive online presence, an authoritative brand identity is created. When it comes to legal representation, clients want the best of the best. One of the easiest ways to establish a law firm’s credibility is through a polished and appealing website. Your target audience will, in turn, have a higher level of trust in the quality of your services. 

Outperforming Your Competitors

With more and more law firms seeking professional assistance for their legal marketing, the necessity of implementing an SEO strategy to outperform your competitors is clear. Even if you are not using SEO in your own marketing strategy, your competition surely is. Your competitors are using SEO for lawyers to optimize their Google ranking and law firms that rank well will statistically outperform their competition. 

Search engine results pages, also known as SERPs, refer to the web pages that are provided to Google users after they perform a search. The first page of Google showcases the top ten organic search results and, in some cases, paid advertisements. Since 75% of potential clients do not click beyond the first page of Google, law firms that do not appear in the top ten of Google search results are 25% less likely to be noticed by prospective clients. Therefore, it is essential to be ranked higher if you wish to generate traffic to your website. 

Increase Engagement with Your Law Firm Website

A major component of SEO success rests in the user experience of your site. Having a prospective client click on your webpage is only one piece of the puzzle. You must also keep them on your site. The longer that a person engages with your website, the better. 

Google’s search engine rankings prioritize websites that engage users and keep them on the website for as long as possible. When your content is well-crafted and SEO-friendly, the chances of them further engaging with your website increase.

How Does SEO For Law Firms Work?

There are several moving parts involved in SEO for law firms, all of which must be accounted for in a holistic SEO campaign. Keyword research, Google analytics, and link building, for example, are a few of the many factors that work to optimize your website. Broadly speaking, successful SEO for law firms can be broken down into three distinct parts: 

  • High-quality content
  • Positive user experience
  • Compliance and authority

All of these factors play a part in search engine success and increase your law firm’s Google ranking factor. While your law firm may be implementing certain technical SEO practices, all of these aspects must be accounted for if you wish to fully optimize your site SEO. In doing so, your law firm will be better positioned to attract and convert website visitors to actual clients. 

High-Quality Content

In order to optimize organic search results for your law firm, it is essential to showcase high-quality content. The content that is showcased on your law firm’s website must be both useful and relevant. Google’s search engine seeks to connect users with the most helpful information. Ultimately, SEO for lawyers helps your potential clients find you easier!

To accomplish this goal, Google looks at the content showcased within your law firm’s website and determines if this content is helpful to potential clients. How exactly does content play a role in your webpage’s ranking factor? What does Google specifically look for when ranking a page? 

How Does Google Evaluate and Rank the Content on Your Law Firm Website?

To rank web pages, search engines use web crawlers to scan and index these pages. These web crawlers, Google bots for Google and Bing bots for Bing, learn precisely what information is contained within every webpage and retrieve the information when it is needed. When a new webpage is produced, web crawlers will immediately assess its value and use this information to rank the page. 

Google’s web crawlers, in tandem Google’s search algorithms, sort through hundreds of billions of web pages to find the most relevant and useful information. Web crawlers merely gather the information. Then, Google’s algorithms will evaluate and apply this information when assigning ranking factors. 

It should be noted that ranking factors are determined using an array of different algorithms, not just one, and many factors are weighed simultaneously when presenting the most relevant and useful information for the user. When it comes to SEO, Google search results depend on five main elements. 

Query Words 

When a user takes to Google to search a word, phrase, or sentence, they are typing in “query words.” Using sophisticated language models, Google seeks to understand the intent behind a query, going beyond the scope of the literal words typed into the search bar. What information did the user intend to seek out? Is the query very specific or very broad? Is the user performing a local search for a nearby business in their area? 

There are many questions that the Google search algorithms seek to answer when deciphering a user’s query words. Query categorization is multidimensional, looking also at the freshness of the content. If a user is searching trending keywords in their query, Google will be more likely to provide up-to-date information as opposed to older pages. Specifically using SEO for lawyers helps attorneys gain the attention of those prospective clients looking for them. 

Relevance of Webpages 

At first glance, the relevance of a webpage may seem ambiguous. How exactly can Google determine what is relevant and what is not? The answer to this question rests primarily in keyword research. When a webpage contains the same keywords at the query, this is a clear signal to Google that the content is relevant. 

Relevancy is not only limited to keywords, however, and Google prioritizes webpages that contain further information, such as pictures, lists, or other media associated with the query. Title tags and meta descriptions are a good indicator to Google of whether or not a webpage is relevant to a user.

Title Tags and Meta Description

Google, as well as other search engines, will determine the relevance of your web pages using a variety of tactics. Two of the most important, but also most overlooked, elements of webpage relevancy are the title tag and the meta description. Putting thought into both of these elements can help your technical SEO and attract potential clients to your website. 

Writing A Strong Title Tag

A title tag is an HTML tag that labels your webpage for both search engines and users alike. When a user performs a query, they will be presented with a list of links to web pages. For Google SERPs, these links appear in blue and are used to navigate to your webpage. Each link represents a title tag. In addition to appearing on SERPs, these titles also appear at the top of browser tags. 

Your title acts as the headline for the content contained with your webpage and is the first impression for users who are seeking information. When leveraged correctly, a strong title can compel a user to click on your webpage instead of others, which is clearly ideal for technical SEO purposes.

When it comes to writing a strong tag, it can be helpful to structure the tag with the following considerations in mind:

  • Ensure that your title tag is original
  • Insert the primary keyword or keywords
  • Address consumer pain points
  • Showcase brand identity 

Generally, the shorter that a title is, the better. Ones that exceed 60 characters in length run the risk of being cut off in Google’s search, prohibiting users from seeing the full title. It is also advised to tailor the title tag for queries and including keywords within the tag offers great SEO benefits. The title tag of your website sets the tone of a webpage and provides an opportunity to call-to-action and display your firm’s distinct identity. 

On some occasions, Google may rewrite a title of a page and display its adjusted title on SERPs. Most commonly, Google rewrites titles if it determines that:

  • Your title is not unique enough
  • It does not accurately capture the content contained within the webpage
  • Too many keywords are packed into the title, preventing users from understanding the content of the webpage
  • It does not match the search query

Optimizing your title is valuable for technical SEO and can help search engines understand and prioritize your webpage over others that present similar information. This is particularly important for law firm marketing, where the competition is high and ranking well on search engines can make the difference between expanding your reach and being overlooked by potential clients. 

Importance of Meta Descriptions

Similarly, the meta description is another component that can be used to garner more attention for your web pages. A meta description is a small snippet of information that appears in SERPs, underneath the title and URL of the webpage. 

While this does not directly factor into ranking, there are indirect benefits of crafting strong descriptions. Most importantly, a compelling meta description can make the difference between a user clicking on your webpage or scrolling past it, to another site. If more users click on your webpage, Google may consider your page relevant and informational, thus moving it higher up the rankings. 

Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed that Google will display your description. Much like titles, it is possible for Google to change meta descriptions based on a variety of factors. If Google feels that a meta description does not accurately convey the content within a webpage, they may amend or remove it to better serve users. The following recommendations may help prevent these changes from occurring:

  • Keep it below 155 characters. Convey your message clearly but avoid being verbose. Google appreciates meta descriptions that are short, sweet, and to the point. 
  • Make it actionable. Descriptions that are dull, boring, or otherwise difficult to understand may leave users wondering what is contained within your webpage. This can be avoided by using an active voice and including an invitation to action. Motivating, clear meta descriptions provide potential clients with an accurate idea of what they will get after clicking on your webpage. 
  • Include your primary keywords. Google is more likely to show meta descriptions that contain the keywords that a user searched in their query. In some cases, search engines will highlight synonyms within meta descriptions, in order to attract users to that webpage. Having an emphasis placed on your description will only increase the chances of a user clicking on your site instead of others.
  • Keep meta descriptions accurate and unique. Google will know if a description is being manipulated to trick someone into clicking on the webpage. Make sure that your meta descriptions accurately reflect the content of the webpage and that they are original. Do not use generic, catch-all descriptions like “this is a webpage” or “blog about personal injury“.

Quality of Content 

Google’s algorithms are designed to evaluate the expertise, authoritativeness, and overall trustworthiness of a webpage. A page that is considered a reliable source will be prioritized over others. When other websites link your webpages, this boosts technical SEO and helps you rank well on Google, since you are then considered a reputable source with high-quality content. Above all, Google and other search engines work to provide reliable answers to users in as little time as possible.

Determining the reliability of a webpage is a bit complicated, however, depending largely on citations and backlinks to a given page. For this reason, link building is quite important when it comes to optimizing a webpage and ranking in Google’s organic search results. 

What is Link Building?

An important part of law firm SEO, link building refers to the process of including hyperlinks to other webpages within your own site. Google uses link building in two different ways:

  1. To locate new web pages to use in search results
  2. To determine the webpage’s ranking factor

Using a system called “PageRank,” Google assesses a webpage’s citations and backlinks to assign a ranking factor for the page. Information from Stanford describes how PageRank works to calculate an objective measure of citation importance that corresponds with the user’s subjective idea of importance, using a formula to assign a value between 0 and 1 to every citation and backlink. 

In this way, it is important to use objectively credible citations within your law firm’s website. In doing so, Google will see your content as more reliable, therefore increasing your ranking factor.

Accessibility and Usability of Webpages

The accessibility and usability of a webpage are important factors in law firm SEO. Google’s algorithms will identify persistent user issues, ranking accessible web pages more highly than inaccessible pages. The three main issues that arise regarding a law firm website’s usability include:

  1. The site does not appear correctly on different browsers
  2. The webpage is not designed for all device types and sizes, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers and laptops
  3. The page load time and page speed is acceptable for users with slow internet connections

Google will inform website owners of algorithm changes and how they can best optimize their webpages to ensure accessibility and usability. For example, when Google began factoring page load time and page speed into their algorithms, they announced the change in advance and provided website owners with tools like Page Speed Insightsand Webpagetest.org to gain insight into how they can further improve usability. These tools are still valuable for assessing the load time of your web pages and can provide great insight into SEO and how to rank well on Google or other search engines. 

Context

Google will weigh information such as location, past search history, and search settings in order to produce more tailored results. All of this information is controllable by the user, who is able to set their location and preferred language. Google uses this information to show users information that is relevant to their interests and location. 

For instance, if a user is in Los Angeles and searches “criminal defense attorney,” Google will show results for criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles, California rather than attorneys practicing in Houston, Texas or anywhere else. A law firm’s practice is highly dependent on the state in which the firm exists, not just in regards to meeting clients face-to-face, but also due to state-specific legislation. In this way, a major part of law firm SEO is local search engine optimization.

What Is Local Search Engine Optimization?

When a law firm (or any other company) meets with customers or clients within a specific service area, it is considered a local business. Local businesses have a variety of tools at their disposal to increase their local SEO and, in turn, increase the firm’s overall visibility within the service area. Fully utilizing Google Business Profile is a major piece of the local SEO puzzle, which will be discussed later in the article. 

In sum, if you want to rank highly on Google’s organic search results, all of these factors must be considered when selecting the content that appears on your law firm’s website. In fact, high-quality and relevant content is the essence of law firm SEO. There are many moving parts associated with this, however, and Google often updates its algorithms. 

Keeping track of these changes can be burdensome, but reputable law firm SEO companies (like Law Quill!) will evaluate and optimize your website’s content to ensure that all of these factors are met. By using Law Quill’s personalized SEO services, law firms are more likely to showcase high-quality, SEO-friendly content that increases ranking factors and lands your firm on the front page of Google. 

Positive User Experience

Aside from showcasing high-quality content, producing a positive user experience for potential clients is essential. User experience also referred to as UX, is all of the practical aspects of a website’s design. If a law firm’s website is inaccessible, unattractive, or otherwise not user-friendly, the chances of landing the client decrease substantially. Utilizing law firm SEO reduces the risk of losing these clients due to poor UX, therefore increasing business and revenue and expanding the firm’s local client base. 

Google algorithms place value on UX when assigning ranking factors. The process looks something like this: a user will type keywords into a Google query. These keywords are then turned into concepts and a set of results are shown for those concepts. The user will visit one or many of these pages. If a specific page satisfies the user, Google will rank the page higher. If the page does not satisfy the user, then Google will produce a new recommendation next time. 

To do this, Google focuses on a few different aspects of the user’s engagement with a page:

  • Bounce rate
  • Dwell time
  • Organic-click-through-rate
  • Pogo-sticking

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who enter a website and then leave, as opposed to viewing other pages on the same site or taking other actions. Ideally, the bounce rate for your law firm’s website should be as low as possible. 

The average bounce rate for law firm websites is 60%, which is quite high. SEO for law firms helps ensure that you are ranking highly for the correct search terms, therefore keeping potential clients engaged with your site. 

What is Dwell Time?

Dwell time is the amount of time that a user spends looking at a webpage before clicking back to the search results. This is different from bounce rate, which looks at users who click a page and immediately click out. Dwell time, alternatively, measures the time spent on the webpage. 

For dwell time to the measured, the user must click on a webpage from the SERP, remain on the page for a while, and either return to the SERP or exit the page altogether. Dwell time is an important SEO metric for law firms to gauge whether or not their content is capturing the user’s attention. 

This metric can also provide insight into the UX of your website. If your webpage takes a long time to load, for example, users may be more likely to click out of the page rather than wait for it to load completely. It is possible to view the dwell time for your website on Google Analytics, looking at the “Average Session Duration,” which measures the total duration of all user visits in seconds and divides that number by the number of visits. As such, this metric is measured for an entire website rather than a specific webpage. 

What is Organic-Click-Through-Rate?

Organic-click-through-rate refers to the number of people who organically clicked on your webpage, compared to the total number of people who saw the page on the search engines. When it comes to SEO, this is greatly important. 

Thousands of people may see your webpage, but if none of them click on it, the value is lost. Being the first of many Google SERPs is a good indicator that your ranking factor is high but, in the same vein, a decrease in organic-click-through-rate can result in a drop in rankings. 

Optimizing organic-click-through-rate is extremely complex, leading many law firms and other businesses to consult an SEO company for assistance. Organic-click-through-rate relies heavily on technical SEO such as title and URL optimization as well as meta description and effective copywriting. 

 

What is Pogo-Sticking?

Pogo-sticking occurs when users visit several different web pages before finding the one that satisfies their query. For example, if a user searches “car accident lawyer” and clicks on the first result, then proceeds to click out and visit the next result, they are pogo-sticking. These actions tell Google that the first result did not satisfy the user’s needs and therefore may be better suited lower in the search engine results. 

Google rolled out a feature to prevent pogo-sticking, wherein they provide alternative recommendations under the top result after a user clicks out. These recommendations are presented in a box with the title “people also search for,” which allows users the chance to make a more tailored search. 

Two SEO strategies that can be used to avoid pogo-sticking are:

  1. Including internal links early on in the webpage to send people deeper into your website as opposed to back to the search results 
  2. Using a larger text font to ensure that users can clearly read your content. This also helps reduce bounce rate and improve dwell time

UX and SEO For Lawyers

UX and SEO for lawyers work hand in hand to attract and engage potential clients. While technical SEO is used to garner attention for your website on Google and increase visibility, UX helps them answer their questions faster and instill a sense of trust in your firm’s practice. Poor UX can, and often does, reflect a lack of professionalism in the eyes of potential clients. 

Your law firm’s website is the first connection between you and your target audience, and for this reason, it is important to leverage your website’s UX to build trust and establish a positive brand reputation. There are specific strategies and best practices that can be used to accomplish this goal. 

Improve Page Speed 

Google prioritizes page speed and loading time highly, ranking slower pages lower than faster ones. In fact, delays of merely 1 second can reduce page views by roughly 11%, underscoring the importance of optimizing the loading time. If your page does not load in 2 seconds or less, it is in your best interest to confront that issue. Some ways to increase page speed include:

  • Compressing high-quality images
  • Utilizing browser caching
  • Choosing a reliable hosting plan
  • Eliminating multimedia formats that auto-play
  • Using lazy-loading

Page speed is one of the fastest and easiest ways to boost technical SEO and ensure that future clients engage with your website. An SEO audit can help you determine whether your page speed is optimized across platforms or if improvements can be made.

Simplify Website Architecture

Website architecture refers to the manner in which information is arranged, structured, and prioritized on a site. It is the hierarchal structure of your website, typically based on layout, internal links, and user interface design. 

From the SEO perspective, a more straightforward website architecture allows Google’s bots to crawl and index your website more quickly and efficiently. From a user perspective, an intuitive and easy-to-navigate website architecture makes it easier to find information and establish contact with your firm. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that any given webpage is no more than 4 clicks away from your homepage. 

Ensure Website Responsiveness

It is important to understand that SEO for lawyers extends to cell phones as well. In this day and age, most people are using search engines on mobile phones. Responding to this shift, Google implemented their mobile-first indexing, which primarily uses the mobile version of a website’s content to rank pages from the site. 

If your law firm is using a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, it may be prudent to make changes. For the purpose of search engine optimization, your law firm’s website should be optimized for both mobile and desktop. Having a website that is not responsive on mobile devices could tarnish your organic search ranking. 

Showcase Informative Content

One of the most important aspects of law firm marketing and UX is providing consumers with content that is genuinely informative. By including self-serving or otherwise highly promotional content, law firms are liable to lose potential clients due to a lack of trust. Long-form blog posts of 1,000 words or more that include relevant, reliable information can greatly improve both UX and SEO. 

Compliance and Authority 

Compliance and technical structure are critical aspects of managing a successful website and, in turn, SEO. Law firm websites, like other businesses, must comply with a variety of regulations set forth by any (or all) of the following:

  • Attorney ethics guidelines
  • The Americans With Disabilities Act
  • General Data Protection Regulation
  • California Online Privacy Protection Act
  • The Can-Spam Act

Failing to adhere to these regulations can lead to compliance violations, often resulting in legal trouble. Compliance depends on an array of issues, however, depending largely on the state that you practice in and the clients that you serve. The General Data Protection Regulation, for example, only applies to businesses and firms that do business in the European Union. This is similar to the California Online Privacy Protection Act, which applies to law firms that do business in California or serve Californian clients. 

Attorney Ethics Guidelines

Each state maintains different attorney ethics guidelines that must be followed when developing content for your law firm website. The American Bar Association has a list of rules and regulations for each state. Some states, for example, require that law firms have a disclaimer on their website if client testimonials are included. Generally, across the board, law firm websites cannot include statements that:

  • Promising outcomes for clients, such as “we will recover everything that you are owed”. 
  • Comparing your services to another firm, like saying that “we are the best law firm in Boston”. 
  • Implying that clients can expect outcomes that are similar to prior cases, like “we recovered 5 million in damages for a client”. To include such statements, a disclaimer will typically be required, stating that past outcomes do not guarantee future results
  • Claiming that an attorney is a certified specialist in a certain practice area
  • Making claims that are unverifiable, like “we are the most aggressive attorneys in the area”. 

Adhering to attorney ethics guidelines is incredibly important for successful digital marketing and, in turn, technical SEO. To keep attracting new clients to your website, it is absolutely essential to keep your website compliant with these regulations. Failure to do so can result in serious legal trouble. 

Legal SEO companies such as Law Quill, which focus on content marketing, also factor compliance into a law firm’s marketing strategy. As such, all content reflects the legislation and regulations of your state. Adhering to the array of regulations set forth by different organizations can be difficult and outsourcing the responsibility can help ensure that your law firm does not face any undue financial or legal consequences.

Google’s Guidelines for SEO Success

Perhaps even more important to law firm SEO are the guidelines set forth by Google. Google maintains stringent guidelines that a website owner can (and should) follow when developing their site. Above all, Google prioritizes original content and penalizes any use of manipulation, such as buying links. When it comes to Google-specific search engine optimization, SEO guidelines include:

  • Do not fill up a webpage with a list of keywords. These “crawler” pages accomplish the opposite goal. Instead of ranking your page higher, Google will see such webpages as deceptive and may completely ignore the page. 
  • Do not use images with the goal of displaying important names, links, or content. Google crawlers do not recognize any text contained within graphics. Instead of using graphics to showcase these names, links, and content, use ALT attributes if the main content and keywords cannot be appropriately formatted in typical HTML. 
  • Do not create several copies of a webpage under different URLs. If your site has identical content that can be reached using a variety of URLs, it is possible to indicate the preferred version of the page. 
  • Do provide visitors with the information that they are seeking. For legal websites in particular, filling your homepage, practice area pages, and blogs with high-quality, information-rich content is the single most important element for SEO. Google prioritizes content that can be a reputable source for others, thus prioritizing content that delivers answers and provides holistic, comprehensive, reliable information. 
  • Do build your website with a logical link structure. As mentioned earlier, the more accessible your site is, the better. Google’s guidelines suggest using a text browser like Lynx to evaluate your site, as most crawlers will view your website in the same way that Lynx would, for instance. If you notice that specific features like cookies, JavaScript, DHTML, or Macromedia Flash, for example, prevent you from viewing the entire website on Lynx, this could be a sign of an accessibly problem. If crawlers struggle to view your site, that spells bad news for SEO. 
  • Do monitor your website for hacking and remove all threats as soon as possible. Also, ensure that you prevent and remove all user-generated spam on your website. Doing so will keep your website usable and credible. 
  • Do use words in your URLs. URLs that contain relevant words, representing the content contained within the webpage, will be easier for visitors to navigate. Try not to utilize long URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs. Also, avoid excessive keyword use and repetition as well as unoriginal page names. 
  • Do include easy-to-read and organized content. Proofread your content for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, as such issues can lead to distrust and tarnish the credibility of your content. Additionally, organize your content around the topic. Using headings and subheadings is a good way to organize your information so that it is clear and easy to read. 

 

Creating Authority in Local SEO

One of the most important aspects of a successful digital marketing strategy is to create authority over the competition. The legal industry is, by nature, saturated with competition, and law firms must go above and beyond to create authority for their brand. The value of authority is becoming more and more apparent in recent years, underscoring the importance of implementing targeted strategies to establish and increase authority. 

What is Domain Authority?

Domain authority is a search engine ranking score that predicts the likelihood of a website to rank and appear on SERPs. Domain Authority scores range from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the more likely the website is to rank well on search engines. 

While small businesses will have a lower score compared to major websites with a large number of external links (like Wikipedia.com or CNN.com, for example), domain authority is a valuable comparative metric that can help law firms understand where they fall in relation to the competition.

How Is Domain Authority Determined?

Because authority depends largely on how much credibility your website has built up online, Google and other search engine platforms most likely prioritize authority largely when determining ranking factors. Moz, the company that developed domain authority, discusses the factors that play a role in determining authority:

  • The number of incoming links that lead to a site
  • The relevance and quality of these incoming links 
  • The overall quality of a website’s content 
  • The popularity of the domain across social media platforms
  • Overall SEO performance

Some sources suggest that over 20% of Google’s algorithms depend on “link authority characteristics”. This refers to the number and quality of links to a specific domain. To put this into context, if a law firm posts an informational blog post and 50 other reputable websites link the information within their own pages, this will increase domain authority for the law firm. 

If 50 websites that are not reputable (perhaps due to manipulative marketing practices or poor content) link the law firm’s blog post, their domain authority will not increase. Quantity and quality must both be present. 

Another important factor that helps determine domain authority is how established the site is. Generally speaking, the longer that a website has been active, the higher the domain authority.

What Can I Do to Increase Domain Authority?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to increase domain authority overnight. Establishing a high level of domain authority often takes months, or even years, to accomplish. There are some strategies that can be implemented to increase domain authority. 

Improve Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO, sometimes referred to as off-site SEO, encompasses all the actions taken outside of a site that impact search engine rankings. Off-page SEO works to increase the relevance, trustworthiness, and authority of a site. At the center of this practice is backlinks. As mentioned earlier, backlinks are important to establishing the credibility of your site. Backlinks come in three different forms, namely:

  • Natural links. These are given out organically, without any action on behalf of the website owner. If a local news outlet links your website’s content to describe a new law recently passed in your state, this would be considered a natural link.
  • Manually-built links. These are acquired through action on behalf of the site owner. Influencer marketing or urging clients to share your content are prime examples of manually-built link-building techniques.
  • Self-created links. These are usually established as backlinks in online directories, forums, blogs, comment signatures, or press releases. If not implemented correctly, self-created links can be frowned upon by search engine algorithms. An experienced SEO company can help determine whether your law firm is properly utilizing self-created links. 

While link building is the most popular strategy for off-page SEO, any action taken outside of a site by other individuals constitutes off-page SEO. For this reason, social media marketing, guest blogging, brand mentions, and influencer marketing can play a large role in off-page SEO. 

Implement On-Page SEO Strategies

Where off-page SEO is largely out of your hands, you have the ability to fully control your on-page SEO success. To quickly and easily increase your on-page SEO, consider implementing some (or all) of the following strategies:

  • Optimize all titles and descriptions
  • Utilize headings and subheadings within your written content
  • Alter URL structure and optimized permalinks
  • Conduct keyword research and utilize them naturally within your content
  • Include internal links within your written content
  • Optimize all additional media included on your site, such as pictures or videos
  • Format your content such that it appears in Google’s featured snippets

Focus on Technical SEO

SEO for lawyers’ websites includes some technical aspects as well. Technical SEO includes all the small, minute tasks that factor into your law firm website’s SEO success. Mishandling the technical SEO of your website can be disastrous to domain authority. When it comes to technical SEO, the following elements are highly important:

  • Carefully select an easy-to-remember domain name
  • Ensure that your site is registered with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools
  • Create and optimize your website’s XML sitemap (a file that lists all of the important pages of your site) and submit it to Google
  • Consider switching to HTTPS
  • Properly utilize hreflang (yes, that is spelled correctly!) if you have a multilingual site
  • Include a properly defined breadcrumb menu on all webpages
Increase Social Signals

While Google has stated that social signals are not factored into a website’s ranking, there is a strong correlation that exists between websites that rank highly on Google and are highly popular across social platforms. Some methods of increasing social signals include:

  • Optimize your Facebook business page and attract a following
  • Be active across social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Clubhouse, and TikTok
  • Showcase your social media on your law firm website
  • Clearly display clickable social media icons on your law firm site
  • Ensure that content looks good when it is shared across social media

Final Notes on Domain Authority and SEO For Lawyers

While domain authority should be considered, it is important to acknowledge that it is not common for law firm websites to obtain natural links to their content. This is a reflection of the legal industry as a whole since most law firms do not wish to link content from competing firms. Moreover, avoid the temptation to purchase or solicit links to make up for this. Law firm websites that purchase or solicit links are typically discredited. 

It is impossible for law firm websites to create authority overnight. Rather, SEO for lawyers and authority must be built up through strong SEO strategies, optimized UX, and a positive brand reputation. Focusing on the quality of your content and your law firm marketing strategies will allow authority to accrue naturally and permanently. 

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the marketing techniques and strategies that are used to increase search visibility within local search results. By optimizing your law firm website for a specific local area, you are better positioned to attract clients in your area and increase your brand’s reputation among your audience. 

Local SEO helps ensure that potential clients are able to find your law firm, both online and offline, by letting Google know that your firm is located in a specific geographical area. In doing so, search engines can recommend your specific services based largely on proximity and the variety of other factors that play a role in local search engine optimization. 

Why Is Local SEO Important?

As discussed earlier, Google seeks to qualify a user’s intent when presenting them with search results. Sources have stated that 46% of all Google searches have local intent, meaning that users are looking for information and resources that are located specifically within their area. Such a significant statistic emphasizes the importance of factoring this type of SEO into your comprehensive law firm SEO strategy. 

Local SEO helps drive area-specific business to your law firm, which is incredibly important within the legal industry. As an attorney, your services are often tailored to a specific locality or state, meaning that the vast majority of your client base will be coming from your local area. 

Furthermore, individuals who are performing local searches are intentional, typically in need of a specific service. Thus, the conversion rate for local searches is quite high. 

How Does Local SEO For Lawyers Work?

Similar to normal SEO, local search engine optimization works to provide the most relevant results for a user’s query. Unlike normal SEO, however, this form of SEO utilizes a different set of ranking factors to rank local search results. Google has stated that they use three primary signals when ranking businesses for local SEO: relevance, prominence, and distance.

Local SEO will take into account the physical address of your law firm within a specific region or city. This address can be represented in your law firm’s Google Business Profile, which is a tool that allows businesses to establish their online presence. 

When it comes to local SEO, your firm’s Google Business Profile is one of the most valuable assets. By implementing local search best practices and integrating a well-crafted and SEO-friendly Google Business Profile, a law firm can drive organic traffic from consumers in their area of practice. 

How Do I Optimize Local SEO for My Law Firm?

There are a variety of strategies that a law firm can utilize to improve their local SEO and make their brand more visible to clients in their area. As mentioned, Google relies on distance, prominence, and relevance to inform local rankings. In practice, it can be difficult to discern what is actually included in these three signals and what Google looks for when ranking businesses in local searches. 

The three signals can be boiled down to an array of elements, all of which can be optimized for local SEO. These include:

  • The specific location, or locations, of your law firm
  • NAP citations
  • Your Google Business Profile listing and the keywords contained within
  • Online reviews
  • Number of check-ins at your law firm
  • Shares across social media platforms

Optimizing local SEO involves all of these moving parts, which should be taken into consideration when implementing a marketing strategy. Failing to account for these elements of local SEO can have detrimental effects on your law firm’s visibility. 

Location

Perhaps the most important aspect of local SEO is the location of your brick-and-mortar office. Google, and other search engines, depend largely on the physical location of your practice in order to make suggestions to users. The location of your office must be permanent and customers must be able to find you there. 

The only instance where an off-site location is acceptable is when it is fully staffed during regular business hours. Similarly, the location of your law firm cannot be represented as a virtual office. In fact, Google explicitly states that if a business operates a temporary, “virtual” office aside from the primary address, then no separate local page should be created. 

NAP Citations

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number, all of which are displayed by Google and other search engines when a user searches for local law firms. NAP data, which is an essential component of local SEO, is referred to as NAP citations. 

A NAP citation, in this context, is established whenever your law firm is shown on directory sites like Yelp, InfoUSA, citysearch.com, or other local chambers of commerce. NAP is absolutely crucial for all law firms that wish to organically rank well in local search engine results, primarily because it places such a large role in geo-targeted searches. 

Ensure that your NAP is correct and up-to-date and that your NAP data matches the information displayed on your site. Google may cross-reference your NAP to other sites in order to confirm that it is correct and represents a real, operating business. 

This helps prevent fake SEO spam sites from ranking on SERPs. Google scans the internet for your law firm’s NAP, and compares the information to other publicly available information like post office records and state business filings to ensure that the information presented is real. 

Finally, it is important to attach your NAP to your real site and primary business phone. Beware of SEO services that suggest creating a local SEO mini-page with a tracking number in an attempt to build citations. This is an incredibly risky practice and search engines will penalize this type of manipulative behavior. 

Google Business Profile 

By a large margin, Google is the world’s most utilized search engine platform. Google My Business changed its name in 2021 to Google Business Profile. Creating a Google Business Profile is exceedingly important to remain competitive in your local market. All of the aforementioned information, such as NAP and physical location, can be represented on your law firm’s Google Business Profile, which is used to establish an online presence on Google, the largest search engine in use. This tool allows law firms to represent their practice across Google, primarily on Maps, Search, and Shopping. 

Creating a Google Business Profile is entirely free and is an ideal way to increase your law firm’s visibility across different services. It is, essentially, a one-stop shop for marketing your law firm and practice area or areas. 

From a law firm marketing perspective, utilizing this tool is wholly valuable to ensuring that potential clients can find and make contact with your firm, as quickly and easily as possible. It should be noted that this tool is only available to businesses that have a physical location or provide a service by meeting with clients. 

Your Business Profile allows you to control all of the important information concerning your firm, such as contact information and hours. Most often, your Business Profile will serve as the first point of contact for clients who are looking for immediate services or who wish to speak with an attorney about an important matter. 

Since reviews are also a major facet of Google Business Profile, this tool is another avenue of establishing trust and credibility. While you cannot control which reviews are shown on your Business Profile, the tool does allow you to respond to reviews. Moreover, Google will select a mixture of positive and negative reviews in an attempt to showcase your business. 

If you have not already created a Google Business Profile, it is simple and straightforward to do so today. To create a Business Profile for your law firm, you will take the following steps:

  1. Sign in to Google Business Profile Manager. This is the hub of your business profile.
  2. Add your business by entering the name of your law firm and selecting the appropriate category to represent your practice
  3. Enter the location, or locations, of your law firm. It is also possible to select a region that your business operates within.
  4. Enter your law firm website and phone number
  5. Verify your address. Google will send a postcard to physical businesses that contain a five-digit verification number. Service-based businesses are able to verify their address via email. 
  6. Customize your profile by adding business hours, messaging preferences, photos, and a description of your law firm.

Once you finish creating your law firm’s Google Business Profile, you will have access to the dashboard where you can manage your profile, view insights, view messages and reviews, and create Google Ads. Potential clients are much more likely to trust Google Business Profiles that are fully completed and accurate and they are also more likely to seek out your services over other profiles that are not complete. 

Google has stated that businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the correct searches. As such, customers will be more likely to be presented with your law firm when searching for firms in your area. Moreover, ensure that you adjust your profile if your firm switches to holiday or seasonal hours or if you are otherwise temporarily unavailable.

It is also incredibly important to include keywords in your Google Business Profile. Be sure to include keywords as naturally as possible and avoid stuffing them into your law firm’s description. A legal marketing company like Law Quill can conduct extensive keyword research to ensure that your profile is fully optimized and SEO-friendly.

Online Reviews

Customers are becoming more and more careful about where they spend their money. This sentiment holds true for law firms as well, where clients generally seek social proof or referrals before deciding on a lawyer. A vast majority of individuals report that they always or regularly read online reviews when searching for a business. The more money that a customer will be investing into a product or service, the more pertinent this statistic is.

There is a premium placed on the social proof that comes with reviews on a law firm’s Business Profile. Clients want to see that others have trusted your law firm in the past and feel positive about their experience. A positive review can be the deciding factor between a client choosing your firm or opting for the firm down the road. 

Google also factors your law firm’s reviews into your ranking. The more reviews and positive ratings that your law firm has, the better for local rankings and the better for law firm SEO. For this reason, encouraging reviews and responding to reviews is key to your law firm SEO strategy. To solicit reviews, go to your Google Business Profile dashboard and find the button that reads “Share review form”. From here, you can share the link with clients. 

It is similarly important to respond to reviews, both positive and negative, as much as possible. Bear in mind your brand voice when responding to reviews, as your responses will be publicly displayed. Moreover, take care when responding to negative reviews, offering apologies when warranted.

Check-Ins 

The number of check-ins at your law firm can play a role in local rankings and SEO. Google’s ranking algorithms value popularity and evidence that other people are regularly frequenting your law firm. It can be highly difficult to gain check-ins, however, but the chances of clients checking in to your firm increase substantially when you create and maintain a presence on Facebook.

Social Media Shares

While there is debate regarding how social media impacts your law firm’s SEO, it is clear that social media plays a large role in establishing social proof and gaining visibility for your firm. Social media profiles, such as your Facebook and LinkedIn, also appear on Google search results. When a prospective client visits your social media page, they are a step away from visiting your website, which is the ultimate goal. 

Optimizing your social media profiles is an important aspect of raising brand awareness and extending your online reach. Including your law firm’s contact information on social media pages likely has a positive impact on local SEO. Thus, if you wish to rank well across search engines, optimizing your social media profiles may be in your best interest. 

Encouraging your clients to share your social media posts helps to create a strong online presence. Make sure that your posts are high-quality and informative. Moreover, consider attaching your location to all social media posts, as this helps to make your content more visible to local users.

The Importance of Blogging for Law Firm SEO

More and more attorneys are realizing the importance of SEO for lawyers and maintaining a comprehensive and informational blog on their site. Fully leveraging your law firm blog is a fantastic way to drive organic traffic to your site through SEO. Writing blog posts is one thing, however, and optimizing content for search engines is another.

At Law Quill, we work with lawyers to create a blogging strategy and craft high-quality, SEO-friendly blog posts for our clients. Content marketing through legal blogging is a complicated matter and there are some important factors to consider when adding to your legal blog, namely:

  • Defining your audience
  • Conducting extensive keyword research
  • Posting content strategically and regularly 
  • Promoting your content through social media
  • Scoring potential topics on lead value

Defining Your Audience 

When crafting content for your site, clearly defining your target audience is incredibly important. This will inform the way that you write to your prospective clients and the information that you offer within your content. 

If you are writing to business owners, you may focus more on resources for scaling, tax information, or the laws governing business formation, and assume a more formal, professional tone. If your law firm practices personal injury law, however, your content may take a more compassionate and sympathetic tone. 

Generally, your blog posts will be written specifically for future clients. In this way, it can help to create a defined client persona. Personifying your client and attaching an identity to them can help you write more tailored, understandable content for your blog. 

Conducting Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important elements of maintaining a successful legal blog. High search volume, low competition keywords are the sweet spot here, allowing your firm to stand out from the rest and outperform your competition in rankings. The keywords that you include within your blog content should reflect the services that you offer and should be used at regular intervals within the post. 

Long Tail Vs. Short Tail Keywords

Consider what a future client may type into Google in order to identify law firms that can help them with their case. Moreover, if your law firm practices in a specific city or region, it may be helpful to feature that in your keywords. If, for example, your firm practices criminal defense law in Denver, some potential short tail keywords may include:

  • Criminal lawyer Denver
  • Denver criminal attorney
  • Criminal attorney Colorado

If you are new to using keywords within blog posts, it can be helpful to start with a single keyword and then expand your reach, looking for longer phrases or questions that can serve as longer keywords. These are called long-tail keywords, and are made up of more than three words, and are tailored to a very specific audience. 

Using long-tail keywords within your blogs is difficult at first, requiring careful research and implementation, but they can be incredibly powerful to SEO. Some examples of long tail keywords may include:

  • Arrested for drunk driving in Louisiana 
  • Best DUI lawyer in New Orleans
  • Charged with a DUI in Louisiana

Notice that these keywords are significantly longer and more focused than short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords seek to answer specific inquiries and provide search engine users with more perfect results to their queries. Understanding how to navigate using keywords is not always straightforward, hence why more and more attorneys look to SEO companies like Law Quill to conduct keyword research and craft SEO-friendly content for their law firm websites.

Posting Content Strategically and Regularly

When it comes to legal blogging, there are two primary approaches that can be used, namely:

  • Posting timely content about current issues and topics. For example, if the Supreme Court releases a decision that impacts your audience, it is ideal to post a blog about this decision within 24-72 hours. Featuring this information on your blog as soon as possible is beneficial not only for your audience but for SEO.
  • Posting evergreen content that focuses on non-changing issues. Ideally, these posts will handle topics that you deal with every day in your own practice and are continually relevant to your audience. This type of content is the backbone of a strong blogging strategy, as it will continue to attract visitors to your site by answering questions and providing information. 

When deciding on evergreen topics for your blog, consider the types of questions that clients ask you on a daily basis. If you are a family law attorney practicing in Detroit, for example, perhaps you may write about “Uncontested divorce in Michigan”. Similarly, if you practice patent law in Washington, DC, you may write long-form content regarding the patent process and how one can optimize the chances of approval. 

Regardless of the type of content that you utilize in your blog, it is important to post regularly and consistently. Each time you post a blog, you have the opportunity to increase your search rankings through SEO and attract more visitors to your website. 

A study has shown that for law firms with up to ten employees, publishing 11 or more blog posts per month performs statistically better than law firms that post less. Moreover, there is a correlation between the number of blogs posted and the number of inbound leads.

With this in mind, it is clear that blogging is a powerful tool for law firm marketing. Lawyers who post regular, SEO-friendly blog content will reap the benefits. If you are a lawyer who is looking to increase the traction of your blog, focus on generating interesting and compelling topics that are relevant to your niche. Additionally, consider implementing a schedule for your blogs, as this will help you remain consistent and focused on your efforts. 

Promoting Content Through Social Media

As mentioned earlier, social media is a powerful tool for law firm marketing. With over 70% of the American population using at least one social media account, the importance of utilizing platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn is clear.

Although LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform among lawyers, more and more law firms are establishing a presence on emerging platforms like TikTok, for instance. Creating short-form video content on TikTok and Instagram is a valuable way to reach younger audiences and extend the reach of your content to new individuals. 

Perhaps the simplest way to go about promoting content through social media is by repurposing blogs and other written content. Using the information presented in a blog post, it is possible to create videos and graphics that are shareable on social media. 

Scoring Potential Topics on Lead Value

Before committing to writing, editing, and publishing a blog on a specific topic, consider the value of that content. Blogging is useless if prospective clients do not find the content helpful in some way. While a topic may seem interesting to you, that does not necessarily mean that the allure will translate to readers. 

One way to gauge clients’ interest in potential topics is by evaluating your own law firm metrics. Browse your email database or CRM system to find out what your clients are interested in. Additionally, it is possible to track the activity on your site. What pages are your website’s visitors looking at? What are they clicking on? 

Another way to quantify the value of a potential blog topic is through looking at the content that your competitors are posting. What topics are they blogging about? Which topics receive high engagement? You can use this information to generate blog topics for your own content. 

Lastly, consider looking to your clients for ideas. You may contact them directly via a survey or, alternatively, you may opt to gain insight via the questions they ask on social media or websites like Quora. These forums will provide valuable information about the topics and questions that your future clients care about.

 

Law Firm SEO FAQs

Short on time? No problem. After years of providing SEO services to law firms, we have a handle on the most frequently asked questions. The following are some of the most common questions that we receive from lawyers who are looking to optimize their content and implement more effective marketing strategies. Take what you need. Leave the rest.

Do Law Firms Need to Incorporate SEO Practices?

Competition among law firms is high and, with more and more clients using search engines to find legal counsel in their area, optimizing your website is essential. Whether or not your law firm decides to incorporate SEO practices is largely dependent on two questions:

  • Do you want to increase your caseload? 
  • Do you want to outperform the competition in your area?

If you answer yes to either (or both!) of those questions, then incorporating SEO practices into your legal marketing strategy is highly ideal. SEO works to attract visitors to your website. The more visitors, the more leads on new cases. 

To further underscore the importance of SEO, let us look at a quick example. Say that you are an individual who was just involved in a car accident in Boise, Idaho. You are seeking compensation for the accident and need assistance from an attorney. Typing in “car accident lawyer Boise” will provide you will nearly 2 million results. The average web user (67%, to be exact) will not go past the first five search results. That leaves millions of other personal injury lawyers in Boise, Idaho in the dust, while the first five law firm websites gain all of the traffic. 

Search engines are one of the first places that future clients will go to find a lawyer and being the first result at the top of a search engine result page is critical. It is highly unlikely that your website will rank at the top of SERPs without practicing SEO. Remember, your competitors are already implementing SEO practices into their own website’s content. 

What is White Hat Vs. Black Hat SEO?

If you are researching SEO strategies for your law firm, you are likely to come across the terms “White Hat” and “Black Hat” in reference to different strategies and digital marketing plans. The two terms have become commonplace when referring to by-the-book SEO practices and manipulative tactics. But what exactly do these terms refer to? Understanding the differentiation between White Hat and Black Hat SEO is essential for any business practicing SEO. 

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat refers to any practices that increase a site’s ranking using means that violate a search engine’s terms of service. Using such manipulative strategies, a site or webpage may rank first temporarily, but in the long-term, it is likely to have the opposite outcome. Instead, Black Hat SEO can result in a substantial decrease in your search engine rankings.  

In some cases, the line between acceptable and unacceptable SEO practices is not clear. Some of the most common Black Hat practices include:

  • Keyword stuffing: using keywords unnaturally or otherwise out of context is a common Black Hat strategy. Search engines prioritize first-rate content and crawlers are likely to recognize keyword stuffing almost immediately
  • Hiding text: in an attempt to fit additional keywords onto a webpage, some site owners may use text that matches the color of the page’s background to conceal the extra words. This is a highly deceptive practice and is easily identifiable to crawlers
  • Link schemes: also known as manipulative links, this strategy involves stuffing links into a webpage with the hopes of increasing SEO
  • Using an inaccurate domain name: some sites secure a .edu or .gov domain name with the goal of increasing SEO. If an SEO agency claims that they can secure such a domain name, or that these domains increase SEO, do not proceed with their services. This can be considered a Black Hat practice in many situations

Pages that utilize Black Hat practices are considered spam by the major search engines and will be penalized accordingly. In terms of law firm SEO, using any Black Hat practices, even accidentally, can have significant consequences for your site, sometimes rendering it entirely unreachable.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO refers to all of the by-the-book SEO practices that improve your search rankings while maintaining the integrity of your site. White Hat SEO follows the rules and guidelines set forth by Google and other search engines in order to drive traffic to your site organically. Practicing White Hat SEO is imperative to long-term success, as Google will penalize any manipulative tactics.

Benefits of White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO, by nature, takes a client-centered approach, offering content that future clients will find genuinely useful and satisfying. By focusing on your audience, you are more likely to establish credibility and grow your SERP ratings consistently and sustainably over time. 

Your future clients do not want to engage with landing pages that are stuffed with keywords and irrelevant links. Rather, they want to engage with a lawyer that they can trust to be honest and forthright in representing their case. 

Moreover, practicing White Hat SEO helps avoid detrimental consequences to your site’s search engine ranking. Google, for instance, will issue penalties to any site found using Black Hat strategies, issuing an update to its PageRank algorithm and lowering the site’s ranking. In worst-case scenarios, the search engine will entirely delist your site. 

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO refers to the way in which a site is structured and organized to optimize search results. This subcategory of traditional SEO handles all of the small technicalities associated with building a site including security and encryption, loading time, and responsiveness across platforms. This type of SEO is often overlooked by attorneys, who are more focused on the quality of their content rather than the design of their site, but it is greatly important nonetheless. 

The key considerations regarding technical SEO are the responsiveness of your site across different platforms, such as mobile and desktop, as well as the loading time of each page on your site. Ensuring that your site is available, responsive, and fast across all platforms can help improve your search engine ranking. Furthermore, reducing the loading time of web pages helps reduce bounce rate and increase engagement.

Dead links are another important consideration when it comes to technical SEO. If a link takes search engine users to a non-existent page on your site, they will encounter a 404 error page. The problem with this is dual-faceted: users become frustrated and crawlers do not favor dead pages. Fortunately, there are tools available to help address 404 errors on your site. Law Quill can help implement these tools to prevent crawlers from downgrading your site and to ensure that your future clients can navigate your site frustration-free.

How Do I Know Which Law Firm SEO Company is Right for Me?

Acknowledging the ever-increasing importance of SEO for law firms, multiple companies have risen to the challenge of optimizing law firm website content. Selecting the right law firm SEO company for you, however, is one of the most important decisions that you can make for your digital marketing strategy. The company that you select has the power to greatly expand your business and increase your bottom line. For this reason, it is important to take care when selecting a law firm SEO company for your firm. 

When searching for an SEO company, look for a balance of experience with the technical aspects of SEO as well as grade-A customer service. Is the company transparent? Do you feel that you can trust this company to practice White Hat SEO and achieve results for your firm? Can the company thoroughly answer all your questions?

Speaking of which, it can be helpful to come prepared with questions to ask a law firm SEO company before contracting their services. Some helpful questions may include:

  • How do you approach SEO?
  • How can you incorporate SEO in our current marketing strategy?
  • Do you conduct keyword research?
  • How do you prioritize link-building and social media marketing?
  • Do you stay up-to-date on industry and Google-related changes?

How Can Law Quill Help with SEO for Lawyers?

At Law Quill, we leverage the most up-to-date and innovative strategies to enhance your law firm SEO. We offer comprehensive services for lawyers who wish to incorporate SEO practices into their digital marketing plans, driving organic traffic to law firm websites and ensuring the highest level of client engagement and conversion. Founded by an attorney, for attorneys, Law Quill is always at the forefront of contemporary SEO and data-driven solutions for law firms. 

Whether you are in need of content creation, social media growth, SEO auditing, or general digital marketing, we are able to help. Integrating SEO practices into your pre-existing legal marketing strategy is a complex and time-consuming process. We understand that lawyers do not have enough hours in the day and creating a comprehensive SEO plan may not always be feasible. We take that burden off your plate. Through our services, you are able to focus on what really matters: the growth of your firm. 

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